Friday, November 07, 2008

From the fun rumors dept.

Steve Balmer made an offhand remark that Microsoft might look into using Webkit for a browser. First off I highly doubt that will ever happen given the amount of time and money that has been wasted on gone into IE development. Still it makes for an interesting intellectual exercise to ask what a MS web browser that is not IE, as presently understood, would look like. Would they take any cues from Chrome or Safari (both built on Webkit) or would they try to strike out on their own? Like I said, this would be interesting, but I seriously doubt it will happen.

1 comment:

Nomad said...

I agree that it is unlikely to happen, simply because Microsoft's whole business strategy is to control all the doorways to the internet. Letting IE go in favor of Mozilla or Webkit would mean handing control of the evolution of the Web to third-parties. The only way that makes sense is if Balmer decides that the web browser is no longer relevant (which some Web 2.0 gurus believe it is).

The way I'd see them going is either (1) creating their own fork off of Webkit or (more likely, because it would not strengthen Apple) Mozilla with lots of IE-specific extensions, or (2) adding an option to the deep depths of IE to select a different rendering engine. Either one allows them to CLAIM interoperability, while still controlling IE. #2 is more likely, in my opinion, because it gives them the ability to dip their toes in the water without committing and then drop it in the next release because "No users were using that functionality."

But who knows? If Balmer and Gates are both out the door at some point, all bets are off. And in a slumping economy, "free" is a powerful word.